Working safely in close contact services
This guidance has been produced to help Employers understand their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and make it easier to comply with this and associated legislation.
Businesses that offer close contact services include
- beauty and nail bars,
- makeup and tattoo studios,
- tanning salons/booths,
- spas and wellness businesses,
- sports and massage therapy,
- wellbeing and holistic locations,
- dress fitters,
- tailors; and,
- and fashion designers.
The government guidance document is also designed for the following:
- those who provide mobile close contact services from their homes and in other people's homes,
- those in retail environments and the arts,
- those studying hair and beauty in vocational training environments.
All these businesses can reopen for appointments only.
Businesses that offer both hair and beauty services can reopen for hair appointments only. The Government has published the 'Keeping workers and clients safe during Covid-19 in close contact services' guidance for businesses including hairdressers and barbers.
The key points of the guidance are:
- Close contact businesses are now required by law to wear either a clear visor or googles and a type II face mask.
- Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff and customers. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
- Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
- Wear a visor or goggles and a type II face mask. It is mandatory in law for practitioners are required by law to wear both a clear visor or goggles and a Type II face mask to keep their clients safe.
- Customers also required to wear face coverings (exemptions apply). Face coverings are mandatory for customers visiting: nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers; massage centres; tattoo and piercing parlours. Face coverings should not be removed unless essential. For example, treatment on the face area covered by the mask.
- Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system.
- Display the official NHS QR code posters, so that customers can 'check-in'.
- Keep clients apart. Consider how many people can be in the space while remaining socially distant. Rearrange waiting areas so that clients can stay apart. Use floor markings to manage queues.
- Help your staff maintain social distancing. Consider using barriers between workstations, introduce back-to-back or side-to-side working, and have staff work in the same team each day.
You can find more information in the Government's guidance for close contact services.
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
All close contact services must carry out risk assessments for each of their venues and any offices they have and use the information gathered to prevent health and safety risks.
Some points to consider;
- A risk assessment should help identify sensible measures to control risks in the workplace.
- Businesses with fewer than five employees don't need to write down their risk assessment.
- Staff must be consulted on health and safety matters, this should be done by asking them about perceived risk.
- The results of the risk assessment must be shared with the workforce and if possible, published on the businesses' website.
- A risk assessment guide can be found on the HSE's website.
Keeping clients and visitors safe
- The opening of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your clients and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.
- This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording their clients and visitors - including restaurants, hotels, and hair salons. If you do not already do this, you should do so to help fight the virus.
- Using outside spaces for queuing where available and safe, for example some car parks. Queues outside should be managed to ensure they do not cause risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct clients.
- All premises should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes refraining from playing music that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission.
- Encourage clients to use hand sanitiser or hand washing facilities as they enter the premises or before treatment.
- Calculate the maximum number of clients that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) and limit the number of appointments at any one time.
- When booking an appointment, asking the client if they can attend on their own, where possible. Reminding clients who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
COVID-19 related screening questions to be asked of clients ahead of their appointment, including:
Have you had the recent onset of a new continuous cough? - Do you have a high temperature? - Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?
If the client has any of these symptoms, however mild, they should stay at home and reschedule their appointment.
- Consider the use of social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form, and the adoption of a limited entry approach, with one in, one out
- To enable good hand hygiene consider making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets where safe and practical and ensure suitable hand washing facilities including running water and liquid soap and suitable options for drying either paper towels or hand driers are available.
- Keep the facilities well ventilated, for example by fixing doors open where appropriate.
- Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.
Social distancing for workers
- You must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible. When providing close contact services, the nature of the work is such that maintaining social distancing will not usually be possible when actively serving a client.
- In these circumstances, both employers, employees and the self-employed should do everything they reasonably can to reduce risk.
- Mitigating actions include:
- further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
- keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
- using screens or barriers to separate clients from one another. If the practitioner is wearing a visor, screens will not provide additional protection between the practitioner and the individual
- using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
- using a consistent pairing system if workers have to be in close proximity
- only opening client waiting areas where social distancing can be maintained
- maintaining social distancing between the treatment or service areas, such as client chairs
- Social distancing applies to all parts of a business or home, not just the room where the service is delivered, but waiting rooms, corridors and staircases, where applicable.
Workplaces and workstations
For people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible.
- Workstations should be assigned to an individual as much as possible. If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people.
- Using screens to create a physical barrier between workstations, where this is practical. This will not be required between the practitioner and client when the practitioner is wearing a visor.
- Minimising contacts around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments including tips, where possible.
- Minimising how frequently equipment is shared between workers, frequently cleaning between use and assigning to an individual where possible.
Help and support for businesses